The Young Men’s Ultimate Weekend was founded by Dr. Mark Schillinger, DC. Mark was inspired by Brad Leslie who started a weekend mentoring program for young men in Vancouver, Canada in 1990. Mark took his son to this program and when he returned he knew he needed help raising his son as a single-parent.
He put out a call for help in the Bay Area and with the commitment and cooperation of dozens of caring mothers, fathers, and mentors the YMUW 501(c)3 Public Benefit Corporation was established.
We Had an Overwhelming Response at the First Ultimate Weekend
At our first Young Men’s Ultimate Weekend in Fairfax, California, over 200 young men showed up to receive their initiation. Expecting possibly a few dozen young men, that experience turned out to be an initiation for the board members and their volunteer mentors as well! Since that event, YMUW initiations have been held in Seattle, Portland, Sacramento, Sonoma, San Jose, Los Angeles and San Diego.
As of 2020, YMUW has produced approximately 50 initiation events, graduating approximately 3500 young men - just like your son.
YMUW Provides Community Service
Over the years YMUW has helped other organizations who’ve been in need of our services. The following is a partial list of places where our efforts were used: Pine Ridge Indian Reservation (South Dakota), Marin Women’s Hall of Fame, California Youth Authority, Glide Memorial Church and Operation Elf.
In 2012 YMUW was one of 25 organizations selected to participate in the first International Rite of Passage Council, founded by Frederick Marx.
The Purpose of the Weekend
To provide young men with a weekend filled with incredible fun and challenges, while building a foundation for a confident and successful adulthood, through learning the importance of teamwork, developing a sense of accomplishment and acquiring leadership skills.
To educate young men and their parents how to develop more caring and cooperative relationships by calmly and respectfully responding to each other's needs, so that young men feel supported to pursue a life of happiness, responsibility and resilience.
We see households as a place where family members enjoy trust, teamwork and love. We envision a world where young men are held in high regard, and where adults model the values they know young men need to learn in order to become happy, caring and cooperative adults. We believe the world will be safer and more prosperous for all – without discrimination towards anyone – when young men know how to work effectively work with young women, in order to provide political, economic and social leadership that’s based on love, generosity and cooperation.
What is Initiation?
Unfortunately, we live in a culture that doesn’t provide parents enough support about how to best guide our teen sons as he navigates his way through the digital diversions of the electronic highway, consuming social media, endless entertainment and over-the-top commercialism. In addition to all of the digital distractions, our sons have to deal with stress from handling school responsibilities, exploring new relationships, experimenting with drugs and alcohol, dealing with family conflicts and figuring out how to “be his own man.”
All of this occurs while he’s trying to deal with a rapidly changing body due to the hormonal changes he’s experiencing.
Research shows that adolescence is a critical stage for a young man’s future success and happiness. Unfortunately, most young men are not being mentored properly and are often being misguided by the internet, their friends and social media.
The Young Men’s Ultimate Weekend directly addresses the root cause of these problems: the lack of initiation and mentoring. We’ve helped 3500 young men become respectable and responsible for themselves and for others. Our graduates leave the YMUW more accountable for their lives and better prepared for the challenges of the adult world.
Why Young Men Need an Initiation
For thousands of years, cultures gave young men the right learning experiences to learn how to handle the wins and losses of life and how to fulfill their potential. At a formal initiation, they were guided by adult men of integrity who showed them how to become confident and independent. The women and children supported the men and eagerly anticipated the completion of this milestone episode.This time-honored activity fulfills the most fundamental need of a young man: to know his rightful place in the universe and his community. Through this realization a young man knows that he is a unique and special creation who is responsible for the safety and well-being of his community.
Societal reverence for this inherent role was a powerful source of identity, self-respect and direction for young men. Without the training and esteem of the community for acting in this gallant, protective capacity, young men can become apathetic and confused. It is the responsibility of the community to give young men the opportunity to be at peace with themselves and the world around them.
The young men who attend our Weekend come from diverse socioeconomic, racial and cultural backgrounds. We do not inquire about their sexual orientation. We are non-sectarian; we do not espouse any institutional religion. Our program is intended for all young men, ages 13-20.